Two selected for DHS Wall of Fame
DANVILLE — A Champaign man who helped develop and expand the country's leading high-performance supercomputing center at the University of Illinois is one of two inductees to this year's Danville High School's Wall of Fame.
The Wall of Fame committee selected John A. Stevenson Jr. and Carl Fliermans, a noted microbiologist whose work helped in the understanding of Legionnaires' disease, as its 48th and 49th members.
Established in 1991, the Wall of Fame recognizes graduates and former students who have demonstrated achievement or service above and beyond the responsibilities of their employment. Members include Medal of Honor recipient Maj. Kenneth D. Bailey; educator and humanitarian Mary Alice Buchanan; Tostan founder Molly Melching; astronaut Joe Tanner; Pulitzer Prize winners Scott Shaw and Kim Crockett; entertainer Dick Van Dyke; actor Gene Hackman; and retired Danville schools Superintendent and Illinois State Board of Education member David Fields.
Officials said the wall serves to promote pride in Danville and its public schools and provide role models for students.
Stevenson was a member of the high school's Class of 1955. He is the son of the late John and Gladys Stevenson of Danville.
Stevenson said he is deeply indebted to his high school teachers and coaches who taught him "fundamentals that have proven to be the drivers in my accomplishments. I referred to the principles they taught me throughout my life and especially in the tough business challenges I faced. They proved to be right over and over."
Stevenson served in a variety of positions at Illinois Bell and AT&T, then rose to vice president and director of marketing for AT&T Consumer Products. In 1985, he left the company to work at the National Center of Supercomputing Applications at the UI, where he served as a corporate officer for 22 years before his retirement in 2007.
According to his bio, provided by the committee, Stevenson worked to meet and exceed the NCSA mission to strengthen the competitiveness of American industry, established successful individual partnerships with 20 of Fortune 100 corporations from 15 key industry sectors, helped change the course of research in corporate America, generated more than $250 million in corporate revenue for the NCSA, and played a major role in developing and expanding the center.
He, along with then-Sen. Al Gore and others, also played a role in opening the Internet to commercial traffic and popularizing the World Wide Web, and helped expand the use of performance computing and the NCSA's overall technology development in the nation and internationally.
Stevenson has five children: Scott, April, Katie, Todd and Jeff, who died in 2012.
Fliermans graduated from Danville High in 1962. His mother, Louise Fliermans, taught at the school for 27 years and served as head of the home economics department.
Now of Augusta, Ga., he is a retired senior research fellow of the Savannah River National Laboratory.
According to his bio, Fliermans is noted for more than 100 scientific publications, filing numerous patents and earning many awards in the field of environmental and microbial ecology.
One of his main areas of expertise was in the ecology of the bacterium that causes Legionnaires' disease. He was the first to define the environmental habitats where the bacterium lives and to isolate the bacterium from its natural environments.
His research paved the way for the understanding of the disease, the successful treatment of the facilities that harbor the bacterium and the definition of guidelines for the safe treatment of water systems for the Cooling Tower Institute and the American Society for Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers.
Fliermans' bio also said he was involved in basic research in the microbiology of land mine detection, designing probes in the search for extraterrestrial life for the Mars probe, defining the existence of life in extreme environments of high temperature and high radiation fields and probing for the presence of microbiological life thousands of meters below the Earth's surface.
Fliermans and his wife, Ruth, have four children: Kristie, Charis, Matthew and Cathryn.